US Department of Energy funds cadmium telluride research

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is providing $20 million in funding to a consortium of research institutions and companies aimed at advancing the technical development of cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film solar cells and developing new markets for the technology. The »CdTe Accelerator Consortium« is administered by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
The consortium is led by the University of Toledo, with Colorado State University and Sivananthan Laboratories. Industry partners are First Solar Inc, the largest and, on a global scale, the only significant CdTe module manufacturer, and Toledo Solar Inc, a company founded in 2019 that specializes in building integration and vehicle-integrated PV. The City of Toledo is considered the »home« of CdTe technology in the U.S. It was here that, from a 1984 spin-off from the University of Toledo, Solar Cells Inc. (SCI) was formed, the sale of which in turn laid the foundation for the formation of First Solar in 1999.
The consortium’s goals include developing new methods for doping CdTe cells, new contacting materials and working on bifacial modules. The initiative is explicitly related to the U.S. government’s effort to strengthen domestic supply chains and reduce dependence on imported renewable energy products, according to a DOE release. The Solar Photovoltaics Supply Chain Review Report, released by DOE in February, cites CdTe as a technology that, up to the limits of the availability of materials, poses a relatively low risk of being overtaken by lower-cost competitors from abroad.

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